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Zelensky vows 'victory' on frontline visit to Kharkiv region

Moscow says its forces are hitting back

By AFP - Sep 15,2022 - Last updated at Sep 15,2022

Nina Gonchar sits on a bed inside a bunker in Bohorodychne village in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, on Tuesday, amid the Russian military operations of Ukraine (AFP photo)

KHARKIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday promised "victory" on a visit to the strategic city of Izyum that was recently recaptured from Russia by Kyiv's army in a counter-offensive.

The visit comes at a decisive moment in Russia's six-month military operation, with Ukraine routing Moscow's forces from swathes of the east and seriously undermining the Kremlin's ambitions to capture the entire Donbas region of Ukraine.

Ukraine has claimed sweeping successes in the northeastern Kharkiv region that borders Russia in recent days and also says it has clawed back territory along a southern front near the Kherson region on the Black Sea.

Kyiv says that since the beginning of September its forces have retaken hundreds of villages, towns and cities that were captured by Russian forces that invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Moscow said its forces were hitting back on areas recaptured in Kharkiv with "massive strikes," adding they inflicted losses on Ukrainian military hardware and servicemen.

In a battlefield update on Wednesday, Russia also claimed to have captured dozens of Ukrainian servicemen in the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

The Kremlin vowed to continue fighting, claiming that the percieved threat Kyiv posed to Russia remains.

"The leadership of this country must take actions that eliminate threats to the Russian Federation," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

Military observers have credited the success of Ukraine's push back into the east on Western-supplied arms, particularly long-range precision artillery and also training of Ukrainian forces by Western allies.

The Ukrainian military announced on social media Wednesday that some 5,000 Ukrainian military had been trained as part of a joint program with the United Kingdom.

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